Sunday, February 7, 2016

Iran demands that US give assurances to Euro banks on sanction penalties - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Iran is telling President Obama to ignore U.S. law and guarantee Iranian access to European credit and financial services.

Iran is warning the U.S. that there may be a "problem" with implementing the nuclear deal unless the U.S. reassures European banks that they will not be punished for doing business with Tehran.

Iran on Thursday called on the United States to make a clear public pledge that it would not penalize European banks for legitimate trade with the Islamic Republic.
Many foreign banks are cautious about resuming trade with Iran following January's nuclear deal because they fear being caught up in ongoing U.S. sanctions.
"Rebuilding the confidence of the banks that the United States will not re-intervene in their relations with Iran may require some further assurance from the United States," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at Chatham House in London.
"We don't need any more legalese - we need clear precise assurances that banks can do business with Iran," he said. "I hope that is fast coming because if not it would be a problem of implementation."
Although world powers lifted many crippling sanctions against Iran in return for the country complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions, some restrictions remain in place
Washington still prevents U.S. nationals, banks and insurers from trading with Iran and also prohibits any trades with Iran in U.S. dollars from being processed via the U.S. financial system.
This is a significant complication given the dollar's role as the world's main business currency.
European banks are also cautious - with some, including Deutsche Bank, remembering past fines from U.S. regulators for breaking sanctions.
In essence, Iran is telling President Obama to ignore U.S. law and guarantee Iranian access to European credit and financial services.  No problem, I'm sure.  We wouldn't want anything untoward to happen as implementation of the nuclear deal goes forward.

The president cannot unilaterally suspend penalties for violating sanctions.  But when has that sort of thing ever stopped him?  Congress has not repealed any U.S. sanctions on Iran, which means that if European banks do business with Tehran, they should be penalized.  But in order for that to happen, the executive branch must be willing to enforce the law.  Good luck with that.

Rick Moran


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